6 Steps to Speaking to Your Online Audience

It’s easy to say that a brand should be authentic, genuine, and interactive (look – I just said it) in their social media messaging. But, to make this goal a little more attainable, I’ve put together a handful of quick, guiding principles that I employ when speaking to a brand’s online audience.

1) Use the plural form to represent your brand.

One simple mistake I often see is social media managers using their own voice (“I”) to represent a company. Unless, you’ve established clear user identities on your company’s social media account (such as signing posts with initials or names), I recommend using plural first person pronouns, such as “we” and “us”, especially when responding to comments or making posts (e.g. “Thanks for your response! We will look into this and get back to you ASAP.)

I in team

There’s no “i” in “team” unless…

2) Use proper sentences.

You are not The Terminator (unless you are, in which case let’s talk – I have a lot of questions). Make sure your sentences flow – they needn’t be long, but they should be easy-to-read and human-sounding. As well, avoid technical jargon, so as to be relatable to the user.

Question time: Which do you prefer?

a) January 10th – 10% off all items!

b) We’ve got 10% off all items on January 10th!

Not you.

Not you.

3) Create “carrot-first” messages.

If you’ve got some good news, or an incentive for action – don’t bury it in the post! Lead with “the carrot” (the incentive or benefit) in the first sentence to make sure your post grabs attention and creates the desire to act right away.

4) Use action verbs.

Tweets that include more verbs than nouns/adjectives receive higher click-through rates. Catalyze behaviour by using action verbs in phrases, such as”Buy now!”, “Make a reservation!”, “Get the deal!”  in messaging and call-to-action buttons.

Be quick off the block like Bolt.

5) Be polite.

If you want a share, ask for one nicely. A study by HubSpot revealed that social posts containing the word “Please” performed up to 160% better than posts without. To pack a powerful punch, use a phrase, such as “Please LIKE & SHARE if you know someone who would love this deal!” to effectively combine politeness with action verbiage. For more recommendations, check out this great article from Scoop.it on Social Calls to Action.

5) Don’t make it all about you.

Being professional doesn’t mean that you always have to talk about your goods/services. Show interest in your community or industry by making “off-brand” posts and mixing it up. Don’t be the person as the party that only talks about work.

6) If you ask a question, make sure to check the answers.

Asking a question and getting engagement is just the first step. To really connect with users, be sure to monitor their responses, and reply where necessary. If you’re really trying to grow your fan base, it’s recommended that you reply to each user (on Facebook, you would tag their name and respond with a quick “thank you” message.) That way, you maximize the chance of showing up their friend’s News or Twitter feed. Remember that the goal is to create positive brand conversation, nurture brand advocates, and grow an interactive community that supports business objectives.

What guidelines do you use to speak to your online audience?